Legal Requirements for Divorce in Virginia

If you are contemplating a divorce in Roanoke, Virginia, it is important to understand the legal requirements involved in the process. Divorce laws vary from state to state, and Virginia has specific statutes and code sections that outline the prerequisites for obtaining a divorce. In this article, we will delve into the legal requirements for divorce in Roanoke, Virginia, providing you with the necessary information to understand the process.

Grounds for Divorce

Roanoke, Virginia is a no-fault divorce state. This means that a spouse seeking a divorce does not need to prove the other spouse’s fault or marital misconduct. The only requirement is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, and there is no hope of reconciliation.

In Virginia, a no-fault divorce can be obtained on two grounds:

  • Voluntary Separation: To qualify for divorce based on voluntary separation, the spouses must have lived separately and apart without any cohabitation, uninterrupted, for at least one year. This separation period is reduced to six months if the couple has no minor children and has a written separation agreement in place. The separation agreement must be signed by both parties and notarized.
  • Separation With Mutual Consent: This ground for divorce requires that the spouses have lived separately and apart without any cohabitation, uninterrupted, for at least six months. Unlike voluntary separation, separation with mutual consent does not require a written separation agreement.

Residency Requirements

Before filing for divorce in Roanoke, Virginia, it is important to ensure that you meet the residency requirements set forth by the Commonwealth of Virginia. At least one of the spouses must have been a resident and domiciliary of Virginia for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Additionally, if children are involved, the divorce should be filed in the county or city where the child currently resides.

Property Division

Virginia operates under the principle of equitable distribution when it comes to dividing marital property during a divorce. Equitable distribution means that the court will strive to divide the property fairly, but not necessarily equally, based on various factors. These factors include the length of the marriage, contributions of each spouse to the marital assets, and the financial circumstances of each party.

It is important to note that separate property, which includes assets acquired prior to the marriage or through inheritance, is not subject to division. However, determining what qualifies as separate property can sometimes be complex, and it is advisable to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to navigate this aspect of the divorce process.

Child Custody and Support

Child custody and support are two significant considerations during a divorce involving minor children. In Roanoke, Virginia, the court prioritizes the best interests of the child when making decisions regarding custody and support.

When determining child custody, the court may consider various factors, such as the child’s age, physical and mental health, and the ability of each parent to meet their needs. Virginia law encourages joint custody arrangements, but the court will make decisions based on the specific circumstances of each case.

Child support in Virginia is calculated based on specific guidelines outlined in the Virginia Code. The guidelines take into account the incomes of both parents, the number of children, and the custody arrangement. It is crucial to consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that child custody and support matters are handled properly.


In Roanoke, Virginia, understanding the legal requirements for divorce is crucial when navigating the process. Remember that Virginia is a no-fault divorce state, and qualifying for divorce on the grounds of voluntary separation or separation with mutual consent requires meeting specific criteria. Additionally, residency requirements, property division, and child custody and support are important considerations.

Divorce laws can be intricate, and seeking the guidance of an experienced divorce and custody lawyer in Virginia can provide valuable assistance in ensuring that your rights are protected. If you require further information or assistance with your divorce case, please feel free to contact our law firm to schedule a consultation.